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AusPharm news

Guild launches disaster appeal : 06/02/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild has launched a disaster appeal to assist its members who have suffered damage and heavy losses because of flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.

The appeal has been kick started by $10,000 donations from four Guild companies - Guild Insurance, Fred Health, Gold Cross and GuildLink.

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Bennett: focus must be on patient outcomes : 06/02/2013 :

Consumers Health Forum CEO Carol Bennett, speaking at last night's PSA Victorian Branch Neil Naismith Commemorative Lecture, said that, in the longer term, rather than focusing on price, pharmacy's future must centre around making patient outcomes the top priority.

Ms Bennett said that as well as improving compliance, reducing adverse drug reactions, reducing hospitalisation and increasing community productivities pharmacists also needed to provide preventive health programs.

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TGA issues Diane-35 safety advisory : 06/02/2013 :

The TGA has issued a safety advisory on Diane-35 and its generic equivalents.

The advisory follows the French medicines agency (ANSM) review of Diane-35 -  ANSM announced that it will suspend the marketing authorisation of the medicine within the next three months after finding that the risk of venous thromboembolism outweighs the benefits of Diane-35 in treating acne and hirsutism. The European Medicines Agency also plans to conduct a Europe-wide review.

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Making sense of anticoagulants: New NPS Medicinewise program : 06/02/2013 :

A new educational program for health professionals by NPS MedicineWise aims to provide clarity around the newer anticoagulants and put them into context with warfarin. The program – Achieving Good Anticoagulant Practice – launched yesterday.
 
NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says that the program will assist pharmacists to feel more confident in their role when it comes to advising and educating patients requiring anticoagulant therapy.

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Availability of morphine amps - update : 05/02/2013 :

'Listers will know that all strengths of DBL™ Morphine Sulfate Injection products are presently in limited supply due to manufacturing issues resulting in delays to packaging.

To maintain supply, Hospira have arranged for an alternative 10mg/mL Morphine Sulphate Injection, WOCKHARDT Morphine Sulphate Injection 10mg/1mL, to be available in Australia from mid January 2013. Other strengths of the WOCKHARDT product will not be made available.

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Are prescription copayments compromising patient care? : 05/02/2013 :

As the cost of patient copayments continues to rise, evidence is emerging that more patients are failing to collect their prescriptions and are less adherent to their medicines due to large out-of-pocket costs.

Writing in the February edition of Australia Prescriber, Michael Ortiz, Conjoint associate professor at St Vincent’s Clinical School in Sydney, argues that this can lead to unintended effects on patients and the health system.

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NAPSA Congress 2013 : 05/02/2013 :

he National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association has just concluded its annual Congress, which ran from the 24th to the 30th of January. The Congress was hosted by the Tasmanian Association of Pharmacy Students (TAPS) at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, and played host to over 300 delegates from 16 universities across Australia.

At the Congress over $6830.20 was raised for the Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal as a result of contribution of raffle ticket sales and donations from the Australian College of Pharmacy and PDL.

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Consumer Health Forum publishes HMR 'Issues Paper' : 05/02/2013 :

In the wake of the HMR moratorium furore the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) has published a HMR Issues Paper (read it here) in which it strongly endorses the HMR program.

It concludes that: "Based on the strength and consistency of the Australian and international data, and the findings of consumer consultations on adverse events and medication errors, CHF strongly supports the HMR Program as an effective initiative aimed at reducing medication errors. CHF considers HMRs to be an essential tool in cutting hospital readmissions, reducing medication errors and lowering rates of adverse events. CHF rejects calls for a moratorium on HMRs."

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Serelaxin for acute heart failure : 04/02/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Serelaxin for acute heart failure.

"Acute Heart Failure (AHF) is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention and usually leads to urgent hospital admission. In most cases, AHF occurs as a result of deterioration in patients with pre-existing diagnosis of heart failure either with reduced or preserved ejection fraction. Nonetheless, AHF may also be the first presentation of heart failure - de novo AHF. Patients with AHF may present with worsening peripheral oedema, life threatening pulmonary oedema or cardiogenic shock. Although there is a lack of good evidence to guide the selection and implementation of management of AHF, treatments are directed at increasing organ perfusion and achieving relief from distressing symptoms including dyspnoea and fatigue. The use of oxygen, diuretics, and vasodilators are currently the basis for management, but opioids and inotropes are also more selectively used.”

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here

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Pharmaceutical industry quick off the mark with election lobbying : 04/02/2013 :

Following last week's announcement by Prime Minister Gillard of a 14 September federal election date, the Pharmaceuticals Industry Council (PIC), the peak body for Australia’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, has called on all political parties to focus on implementing policies to drive sustainable growth in the sector.

Established in 2006, the Pharmaceuticals Industry Council brings together Australia's innovative, generic and biotechnology pharma industries to represent a whole-of-sector approach to addressing opportunities and threats to investment in the sector.

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Coalition pledges to take PBAC advice if returned to government : 04/02/2013 :

In a one sentence commitment in its 'Our Plan: Real Solutions for all Australians' election policy document, released last week by opposition leader Tony Abbott, the Coalition has pledged, if returned to government, to " restore transparency, certainty and confidence to the process by which medicines are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – ensuring medicines are listed on the basis of advice from the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, not on the whim of the government."

Peak pharma group, Medicines Australia, has welcomed the move, saying the Coalition promise will benefit Australian patients as well as industry.

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Guild defends HMR moratorium call, promises to consult : 04/02/2013 :

In the face of widespread opposition the Pharmacy Guild has defended its decision to lobby Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to impose a moratorium on HMR funding.

In a statement issued at 4.40PM on Friday the Guild said it continues to believe that a temporary pause in the HMR program is the responsible course of action but added that it will consult with other affected parties as it seeks solutions to the HMR budget issues.

Earlier in the day a number of other groups, including the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA), the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) and employee pharmacist union APESMA all issued statements opposing a moratorium. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia made its position (in opposition) clear on Thursday. Peak student group NAPSA also commented late yesterday.

For its part the Dept of Health and Ageing said that "Management of this and other programs and pressures in the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement are under review in consultation with the Pharmacy Guild."

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Facebook page on Guild's call for HMR moratorium proving popular : 04/02/2013 :

For those 'listers who haven't already found it, a Facebook group created on Friday called Guild's call for HMR Moratorium is proving very popular.

While there is some duplication on what has been posted to AusPharmList over the last few days there is also much more.

Take a look here.

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Less than 1/4 of pharmacies have firm 'disaster' plans : 01/02/2013 :

In the context of recent flooding on the east coast of Australia, this week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers to report on their pharmacy's level of disaster 'preparedness'.

Only 23% of respondents told us they have firm contingency plans in place to manage a scenario where they are without phones / power / water.

A further 37% have plans of some sort in place, if not particularly robust. 18% believe 'this stuff only ever happens to someone else'!

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The year ahead on AusPharm - upgrade special : 01/02/2013 :

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Widespread opposition to HMR moratorium : 01/02/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, NPS Medicinewise and a host of prominent accredited pharmacists came out yesterday in opposition to a call from the Pharmacy Guild for an immediate moratorium on HMR funding. The Guild's call follows an HMR budget blowout that appears to have the 2012/13 HMR spend heading towards a figure between $20 million and $30 million, well in excess of the $8 million allocated.

PSA President Grant Kardachi said that a moratorium on funding is not supported by the PSA.

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Union: a quarter of pharmacists on call through their lunch break are underpaid : 01/02/2013 :

Employee pharmacist union APESMA released figures yesterday that suggest 28% of pharmacists responding to its 2012 remuneration survey may not be being appropriately compensated for foregoing their lunch break.

APESMA CEO Chris Walton said yesterday that being forced to routinely work through lunch breaks was illegal unless a series of requirements were met, including being fully financially compensated for it.

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PSA and MIMS joing forces to support interns : 01/02/2013 :

MIMS Australia has signed on as the major sponsor and supporter of the PSA NSW Branch’s Intern of the Year Award for 2012.

Nominations for the award are now open with a closing date of 8 February 2013.  Online nomination forms can be found on the PSA website here.

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..... and with PSA too : 31/01/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and NAPSA have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and are looking to further develop their strong working relationship.

The MoU aims to ensure that pharmacy students are well supported and that their interests are well represented. It also sets out the basis for ongoing support in the pharmacy profession after they graduate from university.

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Guild calls for HMR moratorium : 31/01/2013 :

Citing budgetary overuns, the Pharmacy Guild has called for an immediate moratorium on all HMRs until the budgetary issues can be resolved.

According to the Guild, the cost overuns are, in large part, attributable to the emergence of aggresive direct referral business models which have resulted in a 'high proportion of HMRs known or believed to be conducted outside of the patient’s home'. Concerns about such practices have previously been aired by both the Guild (here) and the PSA (here).

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